Ethiopia: UN Secretary-General arrives in Somalia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, arrived in Somalia Wednesday on an official visit, praising the government for leading a battle against the militant group, Al Shabaab.

The UN Secretary-General praised Somali leaders for the political progress, which has been boosted by the gradual decline of Al Shabaab’s firepower, but warned that the group still remained lethal.

Ban said the Somali government should now focus on clearing the roads for humanitarian assistance to flow to needy areas and tighten control over newly liberated territory across the country.

The UN finances the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has fought to recover regions previously under the control of the Islamist rebel group, Al Shabaab.

“Slowly but surely, Somalia is waking from a long nightmare. The country is at a pivotal moment,” Ban said on arrival in Mogadishu, on a visit with the World Bank President, Jim Yong-Kim.  

The UN Chief said the progress made by the Somali leaders in restoring political order was bearing fruit.

“I can already see and feel how the country has made remarkable progress since my last visit,” Ban said.

The UN Secretary-General last visited Somalia in Dec. 2011. The Somali government, assisted by AMISOM, has made progress securing new areas from the Al Shabaab control since then.  

The UN Chief was met on arrival in Mogadishu by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on a trip to the Horn of Africa region to launch a US$8 billion regional security and stability plan.

The UN Secretary-General is accompanied by Ahmad Ali Al-Madani, President of the Islamic Development Bank and senior executive of the African Union, the European Union and African Development Bank.

“We know the political, governance, security and development challenges are immense – and we are committed to helping the country address them,” Ban said. “We are confident Somalia can consolidate the progress and there is much to build upon.”

On his current round of visits to the region, Ban is insisting that peace and security cannot be sustainable without development and development cannot be promoted without peace and security.

Ban said although the Al Shabab’s power was declining, it was not gone.  

The UN chief said focus should now turn to securing roads to newly recovered areas to enable commercial traffic and humanitarian access.  
-0- PANA AO/VAO 29Oct2014

29 october 2014 13:17:08

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